Friday, March 13, 2015

A Brief History of the End of the Wars of the Roses

Reflections on the dawn of Tudor England by author Wendy J. Dunn:
Henry Tudor, Margaret’s one and only baby, grew up in extremely uncertain times, in the midst of the bloodiest conflicts of The War of Roses. These conflicts forced him to spend most of his first twenty-eight years in exile to ensure his own survival. Despite these uncertain times, there appeared at least one thing Henry was very certain about. After the deaths of Henry VI and his son Edward, Henry Tudor believed himself the scion of the Lancastrian family who was meant for Kingship.

Henry Tudor and Richard III – two entirely different men – battled it out on the twenty-second day of August 1485, for life or death. At the beginning of this day, the many serving Richard, the last York King, likely believed the King would easily defeat Henry Tudor’s threat to his monarchy. Crowned and anointed King, a competent leader with a well-equipped and experienced army, he had all the pluses on his side. Except for one important thing.

Richard III at Bosworth Field was not the Richard of times past. Despite the fact he appeared determined to ‘do or die’ on this day, I see him here as already a defeated man. Starting with Edward IV’s death, a brother Richard had loved and served devotedly from his youngest years, Richard had suffered a series of personal tragedies over a brief twenty-four month period. Anne Neville, his beloved wife, had died a very hard death from consumption. Another tragic death had preceded hers. Edward, the eleven- year old son and heir of Richard and Anne, had also died, to the great grief of his parents. As well as all this heartache, there were also political disasters inflicting him at every turn. Richard, the youngest son of Richard, the Duke of York, had discovered kingship brought with it no peace, rather a poisoned cup. (Read more.)

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